Dingford Creek

A fun intermediate canyon with jumps, slides and a lot of water. There are plenty of short rappels, and a few long exciting rappels in the flow. It's a canyon best done in July and August when the flows are lower and the canyon is rated v3a4III.

GETTING THERE

Take Exit 34 off of I-90 and turn north onto 468 Ave SE. In a half mile, turn right onto SE Middle Fork Road (Forest Road 56). Drive 12 miles to the junction with Taylor River Road, turn right onto Forest Road 5620 and drive 5 miles to the Dingford Creek Trailhead (1,500 ft).

APPROACH

Follow the Dingford Creek Trail for just under a mile and 1,000 feet. At 0.8 miles, cross into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness where the grade levels off. At this point, descend the woods to the creek below. Aim for the boulders good for staging gear and putting on wet suits just above the first drop, a 15-foot jump.

DESCENT 

Dingford Creek has about 15-20 rappels, jumps, and slides. Many drops can be navigated multiple ways—jumping, downclimbing, sliding, rappelling. Listing each obstacle is challenging and unnecessary, because its hard to keep track of the jump, slide or rappel relative to the beta. Here are some key points:

  • The canyon starts with a 15-foot non-technical jump into a deep pool. There are plenty of local trees can facilitate a rappel if needed.
  • Several pools in the canyon look deeper than they are and/or have large submerged boulders. Always check the depth before jumping.
  • There is a fun technical slide which includes a ramp requiring you to push off right at the edge before falling into the water. This can easily be avoided via a rappel off a tree for those not comfortable with this technique.
  • The longest rappel is 100 feet directly in the flow, although it is possible to avoid the flow almost entirely via a roped down climb over boulders DCL (down canyon left). For a rappel in the flow, the rock is sharp and the water beats on the rope—be sure to creep the rope. The last person should have a plan to avoid getting tangled in two ropes. Perhaps send the bag down and have someone hold the bag side out of the way.
  • Look around for bolts and natural anchors, and be sure to assess your anchors before using them
  • A 60-foot multi-stage rappel ends in a small trap pool which is easily escaped at moderate (a4) flows by exiting on shallow rock on the downstream end. This would be harder to escape in higher water.
  • The final rappel is about 80 feet and can be done off a high bolt DCR (slippery access) or off a chockstone DCL. Both are relatively out of the main flow.

EXIT

After the final rappel, swim to the edge of the pool, and exit to the bridge. Follow the trail for 5 minutes back to the trailhead.

EQUIPMENT

Standard canyoning gear including replacement webbing and quick links. With many short rappels, a party should consider two short ropes (100 feet, 30 m) and two long ropes (200 feet, 60 m). An emergency bolt kit is also a good idea. While this canyon is open, sculpted granite and gets a lot of sun, it is also highly aquatic and requires swimming for much of the day. Plan for significant thermal protection, even on hot days.

TRIP PROFILE

  • Rappels: 15-20, including jumps and slides
  • Longest Rappel: 100 feet
  • Approach: ~1 mile
  • Exit: ~0.5 mile 
  • Time: 6-9 hours total

NOTES

  • This canyon is rated v3a4III at moderate-low water levels, and v4a5III in early to mid-season. 
  • For more information and recent trip reports from the community, visit the Dingford Creek listing at ropewiki.

Information FOr leaders

Permit information

As of 2017, the Snoqualmie Ranger District considers Mountaineers trips and courses to be "nominal use". Leaders should print and copy this designation letter to show rangers they may see on trail or carry a digital copy on their phone.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate Canyon
  • Length: 1.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,000 ft
Map
  • Green Trails Middle Fork Snoqualmie No. 174S
  • USGS Snoqualmie Lake
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